Individual investors account for 58% of Aurizon Holdings Limited's (ASX:AZJ) ownership, while institutions account for 42%

By
Simply Wall St
Published
April 19, 2022
ASX:AZJ
Source: Shutterstock

To get a sense of who is truly in control of Aurizon Holdings Limited (ASX:AZJ), it is important to understand the ownership structure of the business. We can see that individual investors own the lion's share in the company with 58% ownership. In other words, the group stands to gain the most (or lose the most) from their investment into the company.

Institutions, on the other hand, account for 42% of the company's stockholders. Institutions often own shares in more established companies, while it's not unusual to see insiders own a fair bit of smaller companies.

Let's delve deeper into each type of owner of Aurizon Holdings, beginning with the chart below.

See our latest analysis for Aurizon Holdings

ownership-breakdown
ASX:AZJ Ownership Breakdown April 19th 2022

What Does The Institutional Ownership Tell Us About Aurizon Holdings?

Institutional investors commonly compare their own returns to the returns of a commonly followed index. So they generally do consider buying larger companies that are included in the relevant benchmark index.

As you can see, institutional investors have a fair amount of stake in Aurizon Holdings. This can indicate that the company has a certain degree of credibility in the investment community. However, it is best to be wary of relying on the supposed validation that comes with institutional investors. They too, get it wrong sometimes. When multiple institutions own a stock, there's always a risk that they are in a 'crowded trade'. When such a trade goes wrong, multiple parties may compete to sell stock fast. This risk is higher in a company without a history of growth. You can see Aurizon Holdings' historic earnings and revenue below, but keep in mind there's always more to the story.

earnings-and-revenue-growth
ASX:AZJ Earnings and Revenue Growth April 19th 2022

Aurizon Holdings is not owned by hedge funds. BlackRock, Inc. is currently the largest shareholder, with 7.7% of shares outstanding. State Street Global Advisors, Inc. is the second largest shareholder owning 6.1% of common stock, and The Vanguard Group, Inc. holds about 5.9% of the company stock.

A deeper look at our ownership data shows that the top 25 shareholders collectively hold less than half of the register, suggesting a large group of small holders where no single shareholder has a majority.

While it makes sense to study institutional ownership data for a company, it also makes sense to study analyst sentiments to know which way the wind is blowing. There are plenty of analysts covering the stock, so it might be worth seeing what they are forecasting, too.

Insider Ownership Of Aurizon Holdings

The definition of an insider can differ slightly between different countries, but members of the board of directors always count. The company management answer to the board and the latter should represent the interests of shareholders. Notably, sometimes top-level managers are on the board themselves.

Insider ownership is positive when it signals leadership are thinking like the true owners of the company. However, high insider ownership can also give immense power to a small group within the company. This can be negative in some circumstances.

Our data suggests that insiders own under 1% of Aurizon Holdings Limited in their own names. It is a pretty big company, so it would be possible for board members to own a meaningful interest in the company, without owning much of a proportional interest. In this case, they own around AU$11m worth of shares (at current prices). It is always good to see at least some insider ownership, but it might be worth checking if those insiders have been selling.

General Public Ownership

The general public, mostly comprising of individual investors, collectively holds 58% of Aurizon Holdings shares. This size of ownership gives investors from the general public some collective power. They can and probably do influence decisions on executive compensation, dividend policies and proposed business acquisitions.

Next Steps:

While it is well worth considering the different groups that own a company, there are other factors that are even more important. Case in point: We've spotted 2 warning signs for Aurizon Holdings you should be aware of.

But ultimately it is the future, not the past, that will determine how well the owners of this business will do. Therefore we think it advisable to take a look at this free report showing whether analysts are predicting a brighter future.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the last twelve months, which refer to the 12-month period ending on the last date of the month the financial statement is dated. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

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